Mar 27, 2017

Champika to leave H’tota port subcommittee! Featured

Megapolis and western development minister Patali Champika Ranawaka says he has no wish to serve in the ministerial subcommittee tasked with supervising the Hambantota port activities once it is handed over to a Chinese company, and will resign as its member.

Led by Sarath Amunugama, the subcommittee also has Malik Samarawickrama, Arjuna Ranatunga, Susil Premajayantha, Mahinda Amaraweera and Sagala Ratnayake as members.

In observations to the cabinet, Ranawaka has noted that the port cannot be leased to China without first adopting the port authority act.

Noting that only the jetties could be leased out, he has warned this agreement would endanger national security, law and order.

President’s observations disregarded

Presidential Secretariat sources say that in total disregard of an observation note made by president Maithripala Sirisena on March 20 following lengthy discussions with regard to the handover, a cabinet paper submitted by Samarawickrema on the following day has been declared as a cabinet decision.

In his observation note, president Sirisena has instructed that due attention be paid to a cabinet paper submitted on behalf of the port minister by acting minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama and observations made by minister Ranawaka, and also that no hasty decision be taken, but should make a positive and lengthy consideration of the agreement and the matters contained in it that relate to defence, finance, foreign affairs and other ministries.

Govt. ready for debate

Meanwhile, the government says it is ready to submit all information relating to the Hambantota port development to parliament and even arrange a debate on the matter.

A senior minister said that unlike in the past, there was nothing to hide now as all development activities were taking place within the legal framework and in a transparent manner.

A Chinese involvement in the Hambantota port was first agreed upon in 2012, and a related agreement was signed when the Chinese president visited Sri Lanka in May 2014.

But, details of those agreements were not made public by the then regime which did not heed requests by the opposition to publicize the details either.

Related articles:

Cabinet decision disregards president’s observations in H’tota port matter!